Honesty - Sponsor's Perspective

On page 58 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous we read, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves…. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.” (Emphasis added.)

At first glance I skimmed over that statement about honesty. After all, wasn’t I an honest person? I gave back excess change to the cashier, I didn’t cheat on my taxes, and I didn’t lie… or so I thought. However, in OA, we face the more daunting task of becoming rigorously honest in all areas of our life. In OA HOW they say, “The deception of others is nearly always rooted in the deception of ourselves.”

Our disease will not give up without a fight, and one of its greatest weapons—and hiding places—is deception. In OA we are asked to be honest—with ourselves (Steps 1-3), with another human being and our higher power (Steps 4-5), about our shortcomings (Steps 6-7), about harms we’ve caused (Steps 8-9), and by continual self-examination (Steps 10-11). I believe that part of my role as a sponsor is to support my sponsee in being honest as she or he works through the steps.

I would challenge anyone who is entangled by any dishonesty (think disease)—great or small, cowering in fear with a head full of “what ifs”—to take one small step toward honesty. (I’m not suggesting brutal honesty or disclosure that will cause harm.) Tell the truth; come clean about your food, yourself, your life—from whatever lie has ensnared you—and break free. In doing so according to the spirit of the 12 Steps, I hope you will find the gift of the true you in recovery—happy, joyous and free!


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